With summer in full swing, you may be headed outdoors to enjoy the weather or flocking to the beach for some fun in the water. Staying out of the sun can be tough, especially when you live in Ave Maria and Southwest Florida. Whether you’re spending your time cheering on Ave Maria University athletics, splashing in the private water park, playing a game of bocce ball, tennis or a round of golf course, it’s important to stay protected.
In recognition of July being National UV Safety month, here’s some important information — along with a few tips — to keep in mind as you head outdoors.
The skin is the body’s largest organ. It protects you against heat, sunlight, injury, and infection. Yet, some of us don’t consider the necessity of protecting our skin from the effect of UV rays.
According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 5.4 million basal skin cancers are diagnosed annually, and nearly 3.3 million people are diagnosed with squamous cell skin cancers annually.
Skin Cancer Facts
- Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States
- One in five Americans will develop skin cancer during their lifetime
- A person’s risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had more than five sunburns
- Most people diagnosed with melanoma are white men over age 50
- People who first use a tanning bed before age 35 increase their risk for melanoma by 75 percent
Unprotected sun exposure can:
- Cause skin cancer
- Cause vision problems and damage your eyes
- Suppress your immune system
- Age your skin prematurely
Protecting Your Skin
The sun’s glare is most intense at midday. Staying in the shade between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. will further protect your skin. Ave Maria residents have access to fun activities indoors too. The community is centered around a quaint Town Center that provides residents with many of life’s necessities and plenty of shade. Friends and families gather nightly at the local pizza shop or meet up to sip a few beers at the pub. Walk indoors at the fitness center or do a little shopping at the many boutiques in town.
There are simple, everyday steps you can take to safeguard your skin from the effects of UV radiation from the sun.
- Cover Up: Wearing a hat, or other shade-protective clothing can partly shield your skin from the harmful effects of UV rays. Protective gear may include long-sleeved shirts, pants, hats, and sunglasses.
- Select the Right Sunscreen: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) new regulations for sunscreen labeling recommend that your sunscreen have a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 and should protect against both UV-A and UV-B rays.
- Apply the Right Amount of Sunscreen: Apply at least one ounce or a palm-full of sunscreen every two hours. You should apply it more often if you are sweating or swimming, even if the sunscreen is waterproof.
By learning about the risks associated with too much sun exposure and taking the right precautions to protect you and your family from UV rays, everyone can enjoy the sun and outdoors safely. If you are having any problems after being in the sun, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider.